November 30, 2014 / best practices, Cost Management, industry news, LIT, productivity, resource allocation, strategic planning
As we wrap up 2014, most experts and manufacturers are optimistic about the year ahead. The Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) predicts that industrial manufacturing production in the U.S. will grow by 3.5 percent in 2015, and U.S. GDP is forecast to show the same growth rate. Meanwhile, 90 percent of manufacturers participating in the most recent National Association of Manufacturers/IndustryWeek Survey of Manufacturers were either somewhat or very positive in their own company’s outlook.
Metals predictions are also positive. According to Modern Metals (MM), trends that will help spur growth in the New Year include strong warehouse and multi-family construction, higher North American auto sales and production, “lightweighting” of passenger vehicles and jet engine components for greater fuel efficiency and lower emissions, and stricter regulations for safe transportation of raw fuels. However, the magazine also cautions that companies need to be aware of cycles and the complex global market. “The outlook for 2015 is mostly positive, but competition, domestic and foreign, is always the overriding force that determines whether volume, price and demand forecasts are in balance,” MM warns.
On a higher level, there are several manufacturing trends that experts expect to shape the industry in 2015. In this IndustryWeek article, Michael Kotelec, a global practice leader for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, offers the following five big-picture predictions for the manufacturing industry:
- The adoption of social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC) technologies will gain speed.
- Social media will further impact business model innovation.
- The Internet of Things (IoT) will increase automation and job opportunities.
- There will be greater capital investment.
- “Next-Shoring”(developing products closer to where they will be sold) will emerge.
While most of Kotelec’s predictions are way outside of the daily grind of a metal-cutting operation, these types of game-changing trends need to be considered as managers create their strategic plans for the New Year and beyond. Of course, no one can truly predict what the market will do—or what will drive it—but leaders need to be informed if they want to stay competitive. By keeping a pulse on “what’s next,” managers can create tactical solutions that balance internal efficiency with external demands.